December 6, 2002 |
A second Steinway grand piano was damaged in Tuesday morning's deluge at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, some warping has begun to appear in the floor of Verizon Hall, and 11 orchestra musicians are reporting damaged instruments. The second damaged piano is not the second concert Steinway in residence at Verizon, but rather one donated by Jacobs Music for a sweepstakes - whose winner is to be chosen in the spring. The piano had been in the Kimmel lobby but was being stored beneath the stage when, during a Philadelphia Orchestra rehearsal, a sprinkler system began discharging dirty water over musicians and incoming music director Christoph Eschenbach.
December 8, 2001 |
The long wait is over. On Thursday night, just after 7, the Philadelphia Orchestra and maestro Wolfgang Sawallisch finally played the first sound in their new Kimmel Center home - a huge, reverberant C. It was the first note of Beethoven's "Coriolan" Overture, which resounded through Verizon Hall. Then came the full piece, and the suite from Stravinsky's "Firebird," played with a special sheen and gusto even though the audience hadn't arrived yet. An hour later, 2,500 patrons had filled the cello-shaped hall for an invitation-only acoustic test performance by the orchestra.
February 10, 2003 |
Home-team advantage? No, in the realm of orchestras and the cities they tour, often the best concerts are performed away from home. Two factors can conspire toward greatness on the road: Playing the same pieces over and over means a better-rehearsed and more cohesive interpretation. And an ensemble is really on its mettle when it knows that the audience is dotted with members of a rival orchestra. Those qualifiers out of the way, the Cleveland Orchestra's concert Friday night in Verizon Hall was nothing less than astonishing.
December 17, 2001 |
Great concert halls are not born that way. They are designed, built and opened, and then coaxed, polished and aged before settling into a state of greatness. But Verizon Hall is off to a promising start. The Philadelphia Orchestra played its first full concert in its new home Saturday night, and it is already apparent that Verizon's general sound concept is a success. Russell Johnson, the new hall's acoustician, spent part of last week talking about the fine sound of the old Academy of Music.
October 20, 2011 |
When Verizon Hall opened in December 2001, it came with an enormous footnote. Don't rush to judgment, acousticians from Artec said. A new hall requires "tuning" before anyone can know how it really sounds. Tuning commenced. The series of small adjustments turned out to be inadequate. Now about to enter its second decade, Verizon is once again a work in progress, another round of remediations - $1.3 million worth - having taken place over the summer. And the salient question recurs: Is it a great orchestra hall (yet)
January 4, 2002 |
Saturday afternoon, the Philadelphia Orchestra will hold its first Family Concert Series performance in its new home. Formerly called Children's Concerts, the series is designed to introduce those ages 6-12 to classical music. The one-hour concerts aim to entertain and teach young people to become discerning listeners - and lifelong patrons of the arts. "We do five of these [concerts] in the subscription year. The musicians look forward to it - they are very busy, but they like the relaxed nature of the events and they get to play a repertoire they normally don't perform at night," said Gary Wood, director of education and community partnerships for the orchestra.
November 1, 2002 |
It has hosted Jascha Heifetz and Maria Callas. Even Harpo Marx, Isaac Hayes and Tippi Hedren. But in its high-toned, illustrious century, the Philadelphia Orchestra has never hosted a drag queen. Oh, a brawny Joan Crawford or suspiciously hairy Nurse Ratched has turned up in the cello section from time to time. But this most conservative of Philadelphia cultural institutions has never imported a card-carrying man-in-a-gown to lead the proceedings. Until last night. For the orchestra's annual Halloween concert - its eighth ever, and first in Verizon Hall - the orchestra hired Carlota Ttendant, a redhead with a heart-of-gold reputation earned as the longtime cohost of Gay Bingo, a local AIDS fund-raiser.
August 19, 2007 |
Three years after an acoustical study criticized the sound quality of Verizon Hall, a second leading acoustician says the cello-shaped concert room needs major work to improve its sound. R. Lawrence Kirkegaard was engaged by the Kimmel Center to offer a second opinion after Russell Johnson's Artec Consultants, the hall's original acoustician, reported that remedial work was needed. Kirkegaard - a veteran Chicago acoustician whose Kirkegaard Associates has worked on Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Center, and the new hall at Tanglewood - said in interviews last week that he agreed with Artec's assertion that Verizon was not what it should be. "It needs help," Kirkegaard said.
February 16, 2004 |
Somehow, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam never arrives anywhere without its halo. Heard in varying degrees according to the repertoire at hand, this immediately identifiable radiance resembles the acoustical afterglow of a great hall or some sort of sonic backlighting more than anything specifically generated by an orchestra. No wonder this was one of the most hotly anticipated events of the season. After all, the radiance survives the passage of decades and music directors.
November 5, 2003 |
Is it great yet? No. No one on the team steering the acoustic of Verizon Hall to its full potential is declaring the Philadelphia Orchestra's still-new home "great. " Christoph Eschenbach, the orchestra's music director, calls Verizon Hall "very good. " Simon Woods, the orchestra's vice president for all things artistic, says it's "80 percent of the way there. " Almost two years after opening night, hundreds of millions of dollars since the orchestra started dreaming of acoustical perfection, Verizon Hall isn't quite what it should be, Kimmel and orchestra leaders agree.